For all its jet-set glamour, the golden age of air travel hasn’t, well, aged all that great. (The free-flowing booze and jumbo-sized carry-ons? Still cool. The chain smoking and casual sexism? Less so.) But one undeniably good thing that emerged during the period is the era’s signature pilot’s watch, the GMT. First introduced in the ’50s, the GMT was designed to help airline pilots keep track of multiple time zones on trans-Atlantic flights (GMT stands for Greenwich Mean Time, the standard universal timezone).
Unsurprisingly, among the first brands to get into the game was Rolex, which released its GMT-Master in 1955, adding a red and blue bezel to help pilots easily differentiate between day and night. Rolex has riffed on that original design (nicknamed the “Pepsi” for its resemblance to the soda brand’s red and blue logo) for decades, releasing a blue and black version (the “Batman”), a brown and black version (the “Root Beer”) and, earlier this year, a green and black version with an unusual left-handed crown. The Rolex GMT is an undeniably legendary watch, but its five-figure price and sparse availability means you may have to pay a lot or wait a long time (likely both), to get one on your wrist.
Timex’s new Q GMT, on the other hand, does what every great Timex does: it provides classic good looks and a solid, reliable movement at a price that’s within reach for pretty much everyone. Inspired by the brand’s early quartz models from the ‘70s (an era when even Swiss luxury brands were dropping battery-powered movements into their watches), it features a 40mm steel case, a domed acrylic crystal, and an arrow-tipped GMT hand you can set to a second timezone. The trademark GMT bezel (which rotates to add a third timezone too) comes in a choice of red and blue, blue and black, and black-on-black.
With its funky bicolor bezel and ability to display multiple time zones at a glance, it’s a textbook example of the genre. Priced at just $199 (or $219 with a steel bracelet), it also happens to be the best deal on the planet for anyone looking to work a GMT into their rotation without spending a fortune—a perfect tribute to the definitive watch of the jet-set era, minus the secondhand smoke.